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Causes of Depression

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How Is Genetics Linked to the Risk of Depression?

We know that depression can sometimes run in families. This suggests that there's at least a partial genetic link to depression. Children, siblings, and parents of people with severe depression are somewhat more likely to suffer from depression than are members of the general population. Multiple genes interacting with one another in special ways probably contribute to the various types of depression that run in families. Yet despite the evidence of a family link to depression, it is unlikely that there is a single "depression" gene, but rather many genes that each contribute small effects toward depression when they interact with the environment.

Can Certain Drugs Cause Depression

In certain people, drugs may lead to depression. For example, medications such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and the acne drug Accutane have sometimes been associated with depression, especially in older people. Likewise, medications such as corticosteroids, opioids (codeine, morphine), and anticholinergics taken to relieve stomach cramping can sometimes cause mania, which is a highly elated and energized state that can also be associated with bipolar disorder. 

For in depth information, see WebMD's Medicines That Cause Depression.

What’s the Link Between Depression and Chronic Illness?

In some people, a chronic illness causes depression. A chronic illness is an illness that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely. However, chronic illnesses can often be controlled through diet, exercise, lifestyle habits, and certain medications. Some examples of chronic illnesses that may cause depression are diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, lupus, and multiple sclerosis (MS). Hypothyroidism may also lead to depressed feelings.

Researchers believe that treating the depression may sometimes also help the co-existing illness improve.

 

Is Depression Linked to Chronic Pain?

When pain lingers for weeks to months, it's referred to as being "chronic." Not only does chronic pain hurt, it also disturbs your sleep, your ability to exercise and be active, your relationships, and your productivity at work. Can you see how chronic pain may also leave you feeling sad, isolated, and depressed?

There is help for chronic pain and depression. A multifaceted program of medicine, psychotherapy, support groups, and more can help you manage your pain, ease your depression, and get your life back on track.

For in depth information, see Depression and Chronic Pain.

Does Depression Often Occur With Grief?

Grief is a common response to loss. Losses that may lead to grief include the death or separation of a loved one, loss of a job, death or loss of a beloved pet, or any number of other changes in life, such as divorce, becoming an "empty nester," or retirement.

Anyone can experience grief and loss, but not everyone will experience depression, which differs from grief in that depression involves feelings of low self-worth and suicide, while grief involves feelings of loss and longing for a loved one. Each person is unique in how he or she copes with these feelings. 

For in depth information, see Grief and Depression.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 08, 2014
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